Students walk down the T. Anne Cleary Walkway in-between classes on December 2, 2015 at the university of Iowa. (Daily Iowan/Karley Finkel)

Guest Opinion: Dean of Students highlights the ‘main things’ inspiring her gifts


A friend once told me, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” For years, this statement has resonated with me. As I write this, I realize I have four “main things” I’d like to share with you.

The main thing is community.

A university is a community of “ones.” The University of Iowa is made up of diverse, individual, sacred human beings. It is critical that all members of our UI community know and understand that they are important, and they belong here.


The main thing is citizenship.

For many, the notion of citizenship has to do with getting involved in politics at the state and national levels. While a small percentage of students seek out these opportunities, it’s their residence-hall floors, student organizations, academic majors, and university communities that help them continue to refine the rudiments of successful citizenship. But such refinement doesn’t just happen. It must be intentional. At the UI, civility, engagement, and seeing oneself in relation to community are intentionally nurtured by faculty and staff.


The main thing is connections.

Iowa is a big school. However, no one goes nameless, because we can’t have a relationship with people if we don’t know their names. Instead, we know them. And care about them. And get to know them.


The main thing is children.

I became a mom at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. My daughters, who are turning 20 this month, were born three months prematurely, each weighing approximately two pounds. The time I spent at UI Hospitals and Clinics before they were born (two weeks), and the time Amme and Emma spent there after they were born (two months), were some of the most difficult and gratifying times of my life. My husband and I are forever grateful to the nurses,doctors, and staff who supported, guided, and educated us. Who cared for, and about, our children. Who, through their skills and talents, allowed us to bring two little girls home and raise them to be healthy, happy adults (although they will forever be our children).And it’s especially gratifying that Amme chose to return to Iowa as a college student. We give to UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital as a way of showing gratitude and supporting these resources for the children and parents who come after us.

Why do I give to the University of Iowa? Because I know the UI community is made up of citizens who connect with our children to support them and their success.


That’s the main thing.


Lyn Redington

Assistant Vice President, Dean of Students

The University of Iowa




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